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Friday, November 21, 2008

Malaria and Dengue to intensify in Pacific Islands due to Climate Change: Lowy Institute Report

The Lowy Institute of Australia has published a new Policy Brief looking at the potentially lethal intersection between climate change and mosquito-borne diseases in the countries to the north of Australia including Solomon Islands, and in northern Australia itself.

The Policy Brief titled "The Sting of Climate Change: Malaria and Dengue Fever in Maritime Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands" is written by Dr Sarah Potter.

According to the report, global climate change will intensify the already significant malaria and dengue problems in maritime Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands.

As a result, countries with the fewest resources and poor public health infrastructure are likely to feel the impact of increasing disease the most acutely.

The report stated that in order to address the anticipated problem, Australia should strengthen regional efforts in maritime Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands for the better quantification of the effects of climate change on the spread of mosquito-borne diseases between and within susceptible countries.

"Australia’s own risk assessments for malaria and dengue should be updated. Besides, AusAID’s increased budget allocations for climate change and public health should be leveraged to enhance impact-based research, public education and health care training programs in malaria and dengue-prone areas, especially previously unaffected ones.

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